Ukraine’s Nazi Problem

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“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” Karl Marx. 

We are already in the beginning salvos of WWIII. It didn’t start with Russia’s defensive invasion of Ukraine. It started with the US-backed Nazi takeover of Ukraine. More specifically, it started with the 2014 coup by (neo) Nazi elements and has escalated since. For over 8 years, Russia and its leaders have faced Ukraine bombing, purging, and ultimately committing a genocide against ethnic Russians and Russian speakers, especially in the regions of the Donbass Republics, and some other regions. 

One of many examples, in this coverage from 2018, far-right militants were boastfully responsible for burning Roma camps and causing the Romani to flee from Kyiv; A prominent member “… from the far-right C14 organization has boasted on his Facebook page about an operation which resulted in Roma families fleeing their camp on Lysa Hora in Kyiv.  Despite the fairly unveiled hints in Serhiy Mazur’s two Facebook posts, as well as clear signs that the Roma fled without taking children’s clothing, etc., the police appear to see no need to take action and merely state that they have received no complaints.  It is also alarming how many Ukrainian media (such as TSN, Channel 5) have simply reported this ‘raid’ effectively in Mazur’s words, without considering what threats must have been used to ‘persuade’ around 15 families to leave their makeshift homes in such haste.” 

This C14 organization is one of numerous known neo-Nazi organizations in Ukraine. The Ukrainian courts ruled, in the first week of August 2019, that it was unacceptable for a local independent journalism outfit to refer to C14 as “neo-Nazi”. However, closer investigation reveals their Nazi nature. 

From bellingcat:  

“The ‘14’ in C14’s name is more than just a number.  

For its part, C14 claims that ‘C14’ is meant to resemble the Ukrainian word ‘СІЧ’ (“Sich”), and that the ‘14’ in their name refers to the mythical founding date of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) on October 14, 1943. But these explanations have never convinced watchers of the far right. 

The ‘14 words’ are a well-known white supremacist, neo-Nazi slogan, as Matthew Feldman, Director of the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR), explained to Bellingcat. “While it’s possible, given the 14 words’ formulation, to be ‘only’ a white supremacist slogan,” Feldman told Bellingcat by email, “I feel its neo-Nazi context is pretty well appreciated by friends and enemies alike.” 

“Put simply,” Feldman added, “it’s a neo-Nazi phrase and anyone using it for different purposes….is doing it wrong, either through naivety or deception.” 

C14 can’t claim ignorance; they’ve used the actual ‘14 words’ themselves. On a social media post for a “Youth Football Cup” the group hosted in 2011 — one, as we explain later in this article, they claimed was “for white children only — C14 includes the 14-word slogan, in English, at the bottom of the post. 

“Youth Football Cup: For White Children Only,” reads a post from a social media page for C14’s “Youth Football Cup” in 2011. The ‘14 words,’ in English, are written underneath the post.” (Social media/Hromadske) 

Feldman also argues that the “C” in C14’s name is “clearly modelled on the neo-Nazi ‘Combat-18’ group that appeared in the UK in 1992.” Feldman is not alone in arguing this; as Vyacheslav Likhachev argued to Hromadske, “[the] Latin letter “C” (stands for “combat”) – in conjunction with numerical neo-Nazi symbols – is also found in other neo-Nazi organizations.” 

In the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)’s fifth cycle report on Ukraine, published in 2019, there were the following findings: 

“Regarding homophobic hate speech, according to LGBT groups, the main Ukrainian Churches remain the primary source of dissemination of prejudice and  intolerance. Its homophobic rhetoric sharply increased in the second half of 2015,  following the March of Equality (LGBT Pride) in Kyiv and the adoption of legislation protecting sexual orientation in the labour market (see also § 117 of this report).23 Certain politicians, mostly from radical and nationalist parties, also openly express aggressively homophobic views.24 – Extremist groups 28. In its fourth report, ECRI recommended that the authorities intensify their efforts to monitor, combat, prevent and punish illegal neo-Nazi activities and events. It further recommended that they carry out a specific awareness-raising campaign aimed at dissuading youth from joining neo-Nazi and skinhead groups. 29. According to the head of the State Security Service, there are no radical right organisations registered in Ukraine.25 ECRI notes, however, that there continue to be extremist organisations which manifest intolerance towards vulnerable groups and incite racial hatred. 26 ECRI has also been informed that some of these groups, or individuals within them, have become involved in military action in the East of the country, thus gaining popularity for their openly ultra-nationalist agenda. 30. ECRI is not aware of an awareness-raising campaign to dissuade youth from joining such groups, but the Ministry of Internal Affairs has stated that it regularly monitors the situation in the youth community, identifies the leaders, active participants and other members of radical organisations and their supporters.” 

In the same report, the ECRI also found that there were no substantial fines or penalties in place in Ukraine for spreading Nazi slogans and symbols. The EU has laws prohibiting the propagation of Nazi symbols and slogans, and the ECRI found that Ukraine’s legal code was not in compliance with those provisions, despite Ukraine being subject to them. 

In Ukraine, there are federal laws in place to establish “decommunization”. After these laws were passed, entire city areas, historic monuments, streets, and so on were renamed and rebuilt to erase the contributions of communism towards the defeat of the Nazis, and the development of Ukraine. One effect of the cultural ramifications of these decommunization laws is that certain far-right, nationalist groups in Ukraine have been retroactively incorporated into the Ukrainian state, and their surviving members granted veteran status and privileges. In addition these Ukrainian laws forbid criticism of Ukrainian nationalist groups, including neo-Nazi groups and paramilitaries. 

In a now-archived May 2018 article for The Nation: Stephen F. Cohen discussed the following: 

“Not even many Americans who follow international news know the following, for example: 

§ That the snipers who killed scores of protestors and policemen on Kiev’s Maidan Square in February 2014, thereby triggering a “democratic revolution” that overthrew the elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, and brought to power a virulent anti-Russian, pro-American regime—it was neither democratic nor a revolution, but a violent coup unfolding in the streets with high-level support—were sent not by Yanukovych, as is still widely reported, but instead almost certainly by the neofascist organization Right Sector and its co-conspirators.” 

This has been confirmed by Professor Ivan Katchanovski’s study – The “Snipers’ Massacre” on the Maidan in Ukraine. “This academic investigation concludes that the massacre was a false flag operation, which was rationally planned and carried out with a goal of the overthrow of the government and seizure of power.” –  x 

Cohen’s argument continues: 

“§ That the pogrom-like burning to death of ethnic Russians and others in Odessa shortly later in 2014 reawakened memories of Nazi extermination squads in Ukraine during World War II has been all but deleted from the American mainstream narrative even though it remains a painful and revelatory experience for many Ukrainians. 

§ That the Azov Battalion of some 3,000 well-armed fighters, which has played a major combat role in the Ukrainian civil war and now is an official component of Kiev’s armed forces, is avowedly “partially” pro-Nazi, as evidenced by its regalia, slogans, and programmatic statements, and well-documented as such by several international monitoring organizations. Congressional legislation recently banned Azov from receiving any US military aid, but it is likely to obtain some of the new weapons recently sent to Kiev by the Trump Administration due to the country’s rampant network of corruption and black markets.” 

This ban still remains in place, but weapons have definitely reached Azov. As reported by Alex Rubenstein, “Photographic evidence shows that these weapons have already ended up in the hands of neo-Nazi paramilitaries–units which have already received training and arms the U.S. and its NATO allies.” 

Cohen’s argument continues: 

“§ That stormtrooper-like assaults on gays, Jews, elderly ethnic Russians, and other “impure” citizens are widespread throughout Kiev-ruled Ukraine, along with torchlight marches reminiscent of those that eventually inflamed Germany in the late 1920s and 1930s. And that the police and official legal authorities do virtually nothing to prevent these neofascist acts or to prosecute them. On the contrary, Kiev has officially encouraged them by systematically rehabilitating and even memorializing Ukrainian collaborators with Nazi German extermination pogroms and their leaders during World War II, renaming streets in their honor, building monuments to them, rewriting history to glorify them, and more. 

§ Or that Israel’s official annual report on anti-Semitism around the world in 2017 concluded that such incidents had doubled in Ukraine and the number “surpassed the tally for all the incidents reported throughout the entire region combined.” By the region, the report meant the total in all of Eastern Europe and all former territories of the Soviet Union.” 

For emphasis, the regime that brought Volodymyr Zelenskyy to power as president does not have democratic roots. The militant far-right in Ukraine is organized enough, that in 2014, they used snipers to trigger civil chaos and used that chaos as cover for their neo-Nazi coup of the primary Ukrainian government (as described above). 

During a broadcasted speech from March 16, 2022, Ukraine’s President Vlodymyr Zelenskyy expressed a gratitude to the United States for “overwhelming support” in terms of “weapons and ammunition, for training, for finances.” 

The tragedy of WWII is that the Soviets couldn’t finish defeating the Nazis because the Americans and British imported, recruited, hid, and embraced as many Nazis as they could get their hands on. In other words, the USSR was the world’s only hope against prevailing, global fascism by the end of the second Great War. 

Ukrainian fascists at the time of World War 2 pioneered strategies that are still in use by neo-Nazis the world over today. The embrace of stochastic civil terrorism to achieve their political purposes was a contribution pioneered by the Organization of Ukranian Nationalists.  

From CovertAction Magazine: “The UVO viewed terrorism as an integral part of their struggle to such an extent that they even killed moderate nationalists such as Ivan Babij for not being extreme enough. They operated mostly as bandits, a tactic which they would never abandon. For example, in 1922, the UVO launched about 2,300 attacks on Polish farms, and only 17 on Polish military and police. The UVO would raid farms for supplies, kill the owners and workers if present, and burn the crops when they were finished. Later, flying brigades were founded to “expropriate” Polish property, often turning to bank robbing to finance the organization. 

The UVO would continue along the same lines for years, carrying out terrorist attacks and bandit raids with varying levels of success…” 

The US federal government and security state using Ukraine as a fascist proxy for the United States to fight first the Soviets, and now the Russians is a policy strategy that has 75 years of colorful, and bloody, history that is still being written today.  

Evidence shows that hyper-nationalist attitudes, including positive attitudes regarding a far-right militia (the UPA) that worked in tandem with the anti-communist goals of WWII-era Nazis are on the rise among the civilians of Ukraine. In addition, the same survey samples track general popular support of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and shows the same trends. 

As a matter of self-defense, any Nazi nation must not be allowed sovereignty, state independence, or any level of geopolitical power. The crimes of Nazis in the past, as well as the intention to reproduce and improve on their genocide programs—intentions which are inherent to Nazism—necessitate a swift and effective response that prevents them from wielding power against anyone else, on any level. The only other alternative is to allow them to commit genocide, as they intend.  

Azov Battalion, C14, OUN and UPA, are three examples of Nazis in Ukraine using extremism to consolidate power and increase their own legitimacy. As these Nazis gain relevance and credibility, the cycle continues. Ultimately, the Nazis in Ukraine have effectively run enough of the federal government in Ukraine to be a serious threat to life and humanity since 2014.  

If the Ukrainian people can create a national identity that isn’t Nazism, then Ukraine deserves the same level of sovereignty as any other nation-state. However, if Ukrainians can’t muster anything other than a political dominance of Nazis, they and their government don’t deserve such latitude. This is true of any nation-state.  

Nazi powers don’t deserve sovereignty. This isn’t merely a moralist argument, though the morals involved in stopping a genocide by any means necessary can generally be argued to be superior to the morals involved in committing genocide. This is also a material argument. If genocidal tendencies are allowed to take power, the material conditions for regular people worsen. In addition, the political and state mustering of resources involved in genocide—cultural, infrastructural, ecological, political, and all other real resources involved—actually depletes finite reserves of material available on this planet that could be used for the preservation of life rather than its destruction. 

As the US-backed Nazi regime of Ukraine consolidates power and cultural influence, there has been a marked increase in historical revisionism evident in the attitudes of the Ukrainian people in remembering the sacrifices of the Red Army. The Soviets fought to end Nazism, and any analysis that says the USSR was “as bad” or “worse” than Nazi Germany is literally a form of holocaust denial.  

Between April 2008 and April 2022, there has been a 31-point increase in anti-communist historical revisionism among the Ukrainian public. As illustrated in the above chart, a plurality of the Ukrainian people now believes that the Ukrainian soldiers and officers within the Soviet Red Army did not fight for communism against Nazis but rather the direct liberation of Ukraine.  

The farce of WWIII isn’t that, once again, the region and peoples now known as “Russia”/”Russian” are the world’s foremost hope against the rise of fascism and increasing genocides in Europe. The farce comes in because that country hasn’t been communist, hasn’t even been on the road to socialism, in over 30 years.  

“People with communist convictions believe we need to nationalise everything again. They want everything governmentalized, etc. It is hard to say how effective this would be. We do not reject this in some things and some places, in some specific historical situations, and we even have a law on nationalisation. That said, we are not doing this – there is no need for this whatsoever.” – Russian President Vladimir Putin  

Russia’s ongoing, sole “crime” in the eyes of the West is its refusal to remove its own national sovereignty and bow to Western capitalists in entirety. It is from this refusal that all modern anti-Russia posturing among Western media and political entities finds its source. 

Any war against Nazis, neo or otherwise, is a defensive war, as the existence of Nazis is an existential threat to billions of people. However, the people now fighting on the side opposite the current Nazis in Eastern Europe are not principled Marxists. They are, rather, slightly more materialist capitalists. As compared to the West’s capitalists which embrace transphobia, ableism, and racism—which leads to international coverage and discourse—Russia’s capitalists seem as though they couldn’t be bothered either way, as there is far less international coverage and very little discourse on this topic in the context of Russia. This indifference by Russia’s ruling class (Russian capitalists) isn’t helpful or better, it just is. 

To this day, Russian leaders, including President Putin are at the seat of diplomacy. They are willing to negotiate, and they are willing to cease the overt hostilities of invasion. In all the talk of “sovereignty”, and Ukraine’s “right to sovereignty”, has the fact that Russia has the same rights been discussed? 

Of course, Russia would have minimums in the negotiation. Russian officials have been very clear about their red lines, nuclear red lines, and minimum policies that would need to be agreed on and followed by both sides. This is how negotiations work. You start with a combination of minimums and maximums, and work in good faith to achieve a mutual compromise.  

From “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault; The Liberal Delusions That Provoked Putin” a 2014 Foreign Affairs publication by John J. Mearsheimer: 

“THE WESTERN AFFRONT   

As the Cold War came to a close, Soviet leaders preferred that U.S. forces remain in Europe and NATO stay intact, an arrangement they thought would keep a reunified Germany pacified. But they and their Russian successors did not want NATO to grow any larger and assumed that Western diplomats understood their concerns. The Clinton administration evidently thought otherwise, and in the mid-1990s, it began pushing for NATO to expand…  

… CREATING A CRISIS   

The West’s triple package of policies—NATO enlargement, EU expansion, and democracy promotion—added fuel to a fire waiting to ignite. The spark came in November 2013, when Yanukovych rejected a major economic deal he had been negotiating with the EU and decided to accept a $15 billion Russian counteroffer instead. That decision gave rise to antigovernment demonstrations that escalated over the following three months and that by mid-February had led to the deaths of some one hundred protesters. Western emissaries hurriedly flew to Kiev to resolve the crisis. On February 21, the government and the opposition struck a deal that allowed Yanukovych to stay in power until new elections were held. But it immediately fell apart, and Yanukovych 0ed to Russia the next day. The new government in Kiev was pro-Western and anti-Russian to the core, and it contained four high-ranking members who could legitimately be labeled neofascists. Although the full extent of U.S. involvement has not yet come to light, it is clear that Washington backed the coup. …  

…THE DIAGNOSIS   

Putin’s actions should be easy to comprehend. A huge expanse of flat land that Napoleonic France, imperial Germany, and Nazi Germany all crossed to strike at Russia itself, Ukraine serves as a buffer state of enormous strategic importance to Russia. No Russian leader would tolerate a military alliance that was Moscow’s mortal enemy until recently moving into Ukraine. Nor would any Russian leader stand idly by while the West helped install a government there that was determined to integrate Ukraine into the West. Washington may not like Moscow’s position, but it should understand the logic behind it. This is Geopolitics 101: great powers are always sensitive to potential threats near their home territory. … 

… The reason is simple: the United States and its European allies do not consider Ukraine to be a core strategic interest, as their unwillingness to use military force to come to its aid has proved. It would therefore be the height of folly to create a new NATO member that the other members have no intention of defending.  

NATO has expanded in the past because liberals assumed the alliance would never have to honor its new security guarantees, but Russia’s recent power play shows that granting Ukraine NATO membership could put Russia and the West on a collision course. Sticking with the current policy would also complicate Western relations with Moscow on other issues. The United States needs Russia’s assistance to withdraw U.S. equipment from Afghanistan through Russian territory, reach a nuclear agreement with Iran, and stabilize the situation in Syria. 

In fact, Moscow has helped Washington on all three of these issues in the past; in the summer of 2013, it was Putin who pulled Obama’s chestnuts out of the fire by forging the deal under which Syria agreed to relinquish its chemical weapons, thereby avoiding the U.S. military strike that Obama had threatened. … 

…Current U.S. policy, however, is only driving Moscow and Beijing closer together. The United States and its European allies now face a choice on Ukraine. They can continue their current policy, which will exacerbate hostilities with Russia and devastate Ukraine in the process—a scenario in which everyone would come out a loser. Or they can switch gears and work to create a prosperous but neutral Ukraine, one that does not threaten Russia and allows the West to repair its relations with Moscow. With that approach, all sides would win.”  

Ukraine is a nation committing genocide. Ukraine is a nation that has formally displayed neo-Nazi regalia on its defensive organs. Ukraine is a nation that has absorbed neo-Nazi paramilitary groups, such as the Azov Battalion into its formal armed forces.  

The defensive invasion of Ukraine, what Russian leaders call “denazification”, is intended to stop the apparent genocide of ethnic Russians in Ukraine and respect the will of the people of the Donbass Republics. Nazism is set apart in this world of fascism by its special embrace of genocide. If stopping a genocide isn’t “denazification”, then words have lost all meaning.   

Additional reading:  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_Against_Rehabilitation_of_Nazism

https://www.historynet.com/russia-nazi-law/

https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/us-votes-against-un-adopted-anti-nazi-resolution-while-australia-abstains/

https://covertactionmagazine.com/2022/09/12/ukraine-the-cias-75-year-old-proxy/

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